60 years since 1st American in space: Tourists lining up
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Sixty years after Alan Shepard became the first American in space, everyday people are on the verge of following in his cosmic footsteps.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company is finally opening ticket sales for short hops from Texas launched by a rocket named New Shepard. Details are coming Wednesday, the 60th anniversary of Shepard’s Mercury flight.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic aims to kick off tourist flights next year, just as soon as he straps into his space-skimming, plane-launched rocketship for a test run from the New Mexico base.
And Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch a billionaire and his sweepstakes winners in September. That will be followed by a flight by three businessmen to the International Space Station in January.
“It’s a huge leap, right?" said NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, commander of SpaceX's most recent flight to the space station. "But it's pretty cool ... citizens will be able to have the chance to go to space and experience what we get to.”
It's all rooted in Shepard’s 15-minute flight on May 5, 1961.
Shepard was actually …
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